Monday, July 13, 2009

Hello from BKK

August 2009: Out of the Box

August 2009

…if the gospel of Jesus is just some formula I obey in order to get taken of the naughty list and put in the nice list, then it doesn’t meet the deep need of the human condition, it does not interact with the great desire of my soul, and it has nothing to do with the hidden (or rather obvious) language we are all speaking. But, if it is more, if it is a story about humanity falling away from the community that named it, and an attempt to bring humanity back to that community, if it is more than a series of ideas, but rather speaks directly into this basic human need we are feeling, then the gospel of Jesus is the most relevant message in the history of mankind.

What if the gospel was an invitation to know God? . . . If the gospel of Jesus is relational; that is, if our brokenness will be fixed, not by our understanding of theology, but by God telling us who we are, then this would require a kind of intimacy of which only heaven knows. (Donald Miller, Searching for God knows What, pg. 45,46)

If you know me well, then you know that I like boxes. You know, the things that hold other things, and make things look nice and make things easy to find. I have boxes and baskets in my tiny little flat, which hold items categorically: my art supplies, office supplies, jewelry, magazines, clothes, blankets. I have a bookcase to hold my books by category and also doubles as a dust protector against the Kolkata dirt. I like the box or at least the idea behind the box.

But as I reflect on the box, I see that it not only serves the purposes for which I appreciate it but it also keeps me out. I forget that my art supplies are waiting for me to be creative and that things I have been saving to use for just right purpose are buried in a box, pretty on the outside but elusive and prohibitive to seeing right away the thing that will meet my need of moment.

Boxes do serve a purpose; seriously, my house would chaos without them. But boxes are best for things not for God. I’ve found, more than I would like to admit, that I have made God very small and fit Him into my little box. I fear what might happen to me if I let God out of the box. For certain I would be out of control and then I might be overwhelmed with His love and His grace. I might love others without reserve. I might open the door of my heart all the way and been seen by God and others for who I am really.

In boxing in God, I have not found Him when I have sought Him. I have limited God and I think sometimes He lets me, just to prove that my limits work for a time but truly He is limitless. My neat clean box prevents me from dreaming and hoping and praying for more than I can ask or imagine. When I relegate God to the box He is limited because He seems to only go as far as I let him and in limiting my Father, Savior and Friend, I am missing out on the fullness of whom He is and wants to be for me and for the people I love and serve.

I have always wanted my faith walk to come in 3 to 5 easy steps. A list of precepts and programs, easy as one, two, three. But honestly when it does happen that way, I rebel. I am known to have occasional authority issues and every time I am told a rule, a policy or a procedure or a way of doing something I question it. I do not really want a list, that is just my excuse for not pursuing and allowing myself to be pursued by the great and mighty, gentle and loving Abba. I want a relationship, in the deepest core of my being, I want to be loved, love and find intimacy with a pursuant lover. And in the truest way, I find when I let go trying, doing and numbering lists; I find the freedom of a relationship with Jesus. It’s not perfect yet, I still am dismantling the boxes but I am relishing the embrace and newness of discovering God in new ways after more than 20 years being a believer.

God outside of the box is not only what I need but also what our friends here in Kolkata need. My friends “Julie and Monita” need a God out of the box for them to take the first steps of freedom in August as we open the doors of our second Sari Bari location. (Pray that these ladies and about 18 more make those steps to freedom and new life. Also pray for our staff as we start at the new location in a new area). They need a big, big God who can makes all things new, who can call them beautiful, beloved, forgiven and treasured. They need “the intimacy of which only heaven knows” as Donald Miller puts. They need that intimacy because not only is it the most basic of human needs but because they need a transformation of intimacy. They need an intimacy that restores broken human relationship with agape, boundless love.

My prayer is that you too would continue discovering Jesus out of the box.

Much love,